So when it comes down to planning your trip and you're staying within the continental United States (or wherever you're from that you do not have to travel across large bodies of water), do you fly or do you drive?
How long are you going on vacation?
How many people are going with you?
How far is your destination?
Do you have a budget?
How long are you going on vacation? It's not a strange question, yes I understand most people plan vacations for around a week, but some may only take a two to three day trip. We did last summer to the beach with the kids. Now, my children have never been there before so we didn't want to stay longer than what we knew they could handle so that's the main reason for the shorter vacation. Though this isn't the most important question for this piece, it will come in to play here shortly.
How many people are going with you? This is a big question. Is it just you an a spouse or you and one other person or is it a family, even a party of 4 can make a huge impact on your budget and in the long run save you money. Do you have any children going?
How far is your destination? Can you drive there? Even if it takes you quite a few hours, you can still drive to certain locations easier than flying, especially if you have a large party.
Do you have a budget? Would it just overall be cheaper for you to save money driving? Maybe.
So let's just do this... Say with my family. Currently it would be me, my husband, and 5 children (under the age of 18, with 2 over the age of 10). Say we don't have a set budget but want to save money if we can.
Our first trip will be to VA Beach. About 5 1/2 hour drive from our home. Right away, with 7 people in our party, driving is definitely the best option, I wouldn't even want to know how much it would be to fly. Considering we would be driving about 2 hours away to any of the closest airports, we would be half way there already! Then exactly where would we be flying to? How far of a drive from the airport, then are we going to rent a car there? Seems like definitely not something I would want to have to even spend the extra money on airline tickets to start with.
Now, let's say it's somewhere further, we are going to go to Orlando! Everyone's favorite place, Disney World. My children have never been there, I have never been there, my husband has never been there and I don't plan on taking my children this young. SO... anyways... here we go... From my town to Disney World it is, 15 hours! My husband moved a few people there before and the drive really isn't that bad. But, you're adding children to the mix now. Can we do it? Sure! Would it save us money... Probably... So upon checking flights, should we leave August 20th and come back on August 26th which is technically a week, our total round trip would be at least $899 just in flights through Spirit Airlines on about a 2 hour and 15 minute flight. And usually there is a shuttle from most airports that are within the vicinity of major attractions like this... I know in Vegas there was. With 7 people, we would need to rent a van if we were to drive. Enterprise wants $612 a week and we would have a total of 30 hours of driving time and probably staying over night in at least one location each way. So add a hotel fee on top of that, plus gas. We would definitely fly in this instance.
So I guess the theory here would be to weigh out your options. Especially if you have a large party and if you have more than 2 drivers it may be beneficial to drive but definitely take into consideration gas, and do you have to stay at a hotel. Always do your research before booking a trip, especially one that involves airlines because a lot of the time you can get cheaper rates with non-refundable tickets.
One more tip to save money on car rentals. Do you have a credit card that covers the insurance of rental cars? Definitely look into it incase, that will save you a boatload of money if you rent using that card!